Discourses about those “left behind”: social representations constructed by mistresses about domestic workers
The transformation of gender roles operated in the last century and linked to the growing participation of women in the job market coexists with an ideology in which the domestic sphere is still represented as feminine (Crompton, 2006; cit. by Abrantes, 2012). Domestic work, as it exists, done mostly by immigrant women with low social status, implicates the coexistence of disparities in the processes of feminine emancipation, as well as the existence of different and structurally contrasting social positions occupied by women (Dias, 2010). In the present investigation, the goal is to analyse the relations established between domestic workers and their female bosses, more specifically the social representations that the latter build regarding these workers, what strategies they use to set apart their own identities from those representations, and in that way those representations are a product of the categories gender, ethnicity, class and professional occupation, understood in the context of dynamic and cumulative processes of discrimination that reinforce each other (Dias, 2010).